More maestro names in La Scala frame

More maestro names in La Scala frame


norman lebrecht

October 23, 2013

The Italian media, ever keen to make a drama out of a comedy of errors, has found another candidate for the music directorship of La Scala. After the new boss, Alexander Pereira, leaked to Corriere that Riccardo Chailly was taking the job – only for Chailly to insist the information was prematureLa Reppublica has learned that Fabio Luisi is now in the running, apparently as the orchestra’s preferred candidate. No confirmation from any quarter, least of all Mr Luisi.

Luisi Fabio - C Barbara Luisi_thumb_thumb


  • sdReader says:

    Luisi the orchestra’s preferred candidate? Not likely.

    Then again, these are the “professori” who fired Abbado and two decades later Muti. Laugh out loud.

  • David H. says:

    Fabio Luisi has a contract in Zürich until when?

    What about Pappano, Gatti, Noseda?

  • Orin O'Brien says: about Gatti! The “Parsifal” he conducted at the Metropolitan Opera last season

    was glowing, musically satisfying, one of the best in many years..and why hasn’t he conducted the New York Philharmonic in recent years??

  • Lau B. says:

    Vote for Luisi!!! Incredible Maestro!

  • David Wetherill says:

    So Barenboim is out? Thank heaven.

  • David Wetherill says:

    Claudio Abbado and Riccardo Muti were at La Scala for nearly 40 years combined. Such longevity speaks for itself, They both were great for opera and La Scala. What has happened since borders on the criminal.

  • stripy says:

    Italians conducting Italian opera in Italy? Makes sense to me. It’s the music, words and stories of the Italian people (if sometimes obliquely so)– written and composed by Italians FOR Italians. I recently listened to and watched Barenboim conduct the Verdi Requiem– he just didn’t get it– the text, the music, the vocalism, the drama. (Let’s not even get into tempo, technique, lack of synchronization. At one a cappella passage, he bugged his eyes and waggled his fingers at them like he was casting spells. WTF? The man is a flaming disgrace as a conductor. Always has been. Who paid to get him that gig?) Right after the Requiem was over, Muti conducting Nabucco. Wow, flippin’ wow!

    • sdReader says:

      That’s too hard on Barenboim, but he has never been a Verdian.

      Muti will conduct “Ernani” next month in Rome. Get on a plane!

      • Michael Schaffer says:

        “That’s too hard on Barenboim, but he has never been a Verdian.”

        I believe you are right. As far as I know, he was originally an Argentinian, then became an Israeli citizen at some point.

  • David Wetherill says:

    Barenboim has never learned how to conduct, either. Sorry, Daniel. I can’t take it any more. Get some lessons.

    Playing through the score on the piano teaches you nothing except how the music “goes.” I have never seen a piano soloist who turned to conducting who was anything but a faker– and I have seen everybody.

    • James Forrest says:

      At least one person agrees with me regarding Danny-Boi !! 🙂

    • David H. says:

      That’s such a ridiculous comment, saying much about the poster, nothing about Barenboim. No more comment.

    • Michael Schaffer says:

      It is typically seen as an important skill for a conductor to play the piano really well, especially when he/she wants to study conducting formally at a conservatory, but you are telling us that if someone plays the piano not just really well, but extremely well, good enough to become a soloist, then he/she automatically is a bad conductor.

      That’s a really odd logic!

      How do you think Barenboim made it through conducting the whole Ring in Bayreuth? How did he fake his way through that?

    • The ‘Ring’ Barenboim conducted at the Proms this year would seem to suggest he has the full measure of not just conducting, but the scores he is conducting. There’s really not enough conductors you can say that about these days.

  • David Wetherill says:

    The orchestra at Bayreuth plays the same music every year. They will play it regardless of who conducts. Don’t you wonder how the orchestra knows what to do, when, and how? With Barenboim on the podium, they are doing it in spite of him.

    Playing the score at the piano tells you nothing about conducting. Conduct the music, don’t “play” the orchestra.

    • What a strange notion! Barenboim may be no Verdian, but he is surely better than this carping criticism. He is a genuine musician. His conducting Wagner and Strauss and Mozart and Beethoven and Debussy and Elliott Carter is emphatically not the conducting of a dilettante or amateur. So sorry you can’t understand this. Pity.

  • David Wetherill says:

    Playing the piano well is no advantage for learning the art and technique of conducting. Any trained musician can learn to study scores. Maybe it helps getting a job as an opera coach.

    Gestures have to be learned, tried, experimented with, not at the piano.

    In fact, competence at the keyboard may lead someone to believe he has studied the score, when in fact, he has only learned the score as a piano work.

    Most of the great pianists who turned to conducting have had the “advantage” of conducting great orchestras. They put on a good show, but the orchestras know the truth.

    I am not saying any conductor is a bad musician. I am a good driver, but I would not race at Monte Carlo, or fly the Space Shuttle.

    • Michael Schaffer says:

      How do you know how Barenboim studies his scores? How do you know if he just plays through the piano reduction, or if he goes through the score at the piano playing directly from the score, or if he sits down with no piano, the score alone and just reads it? Or a combination of the above?

      So “competence at the keyboard may lead someone to believe he has studied the score” while being a less than competent pianist automatically leads to deeper understanding of the music?

      Nobody says that being able to play the piano really well means one is automatically a good conductor, there is a lot of technique to be learned and experience to be gained in that field that playing the piano (or any other instrument) alone doesn’t give one.

      But – you do realize that Barenboim hasn’t just taken up conducting spontaneously on a whim only recently, do you?

      You asked: “Don’t you wonder how the orchestra knows what to do, when, and how?”

      – No, I don’t, because I know how that works. I used to be an orchestral musician myself. In addition to that, growing up in Berlin, I have had the opportunity to see and hear more or less all of the great conductors (and many mediocre and bad ones, too) who were active in the past 30 years at work, in concert and often enough in rehearsal, too.

      Barenboim, in my opinion, is by far not the “greatest” conductor (whatever exactly that may mean…) I have seen and heard, he isn’t even one of my favorite conductors, but he is a very solid conductor who knows exactly what he is doing. In fact, I mostly see him as a very solid rather than particularly “inspired” (again, whatever exactly that may mean) interpreter of orchestral music.

      He built the Orchestre de Paris from a thrown-together troupe which had a pretty bad start with its first music directors dying on them (Munch) or rarely being present (Karajan, Solti) into a very solid ensemble. His work with the Staatskapelle Berlin has also been very successful overall. I was among those who thought it was a really bad idea to hire him as MD of the Staatsoper in 1992, in particular because he had never been MD of a major (or any) opera house before except for the Opéra Bastille from where he got fired before his enure even started, but he steered the ensemble safely through some very turbulent times and not only maintained, but raised the playing standard and the artistic profile of the orchestra.

      He still isn’t one of my favorite conductors, but credit should be given where credit is due.

    • David H. says:

      David W. sounds like bitter grapes from someone who couldn’t advance in conducting, because he couldn’t master the piano sufficiently. But he is completely out of touch with the craft in general. No conductor who also is a capable piano player, would ever study a score at the piano “as a piano work”. Score studies at the piano are done to dive into the composition, into the polyphonic and harmonic context etc. and to accompany soloists if necessary at piano rehearsals.

      Most great conductors in the golden era of conducting were great pianists as well. Exceptions apply. Today more musicians find their way to conducting from preliminary mastership of other instruments as well.

  • David Wetherill says:

    Please tell us how orchestras interpret a conductor’s gestures.

    Show us how you would show dynamics, note lengths, accents, line and emotional content.

    Please explain. Help me become as smart as you.